Fire in a crowded theater? – or “Free Speech”?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by rdean, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    A man’s son came back from the overseas war a “fallen hero”. Christian protesters picketed the funeral of the grieving man’s son. Not because they disagreed with the war, but because they feel the only reason this soldier died is because God refused to protect him. The reason given was that this country tolerates gay people.

    The man took the church that sponsored this disgraceful invasion of privacy to court and was awarded millions in damages.

    A conservative judge overturned that award and ruled the family of the fallen soldier should pay the more than $16,000 in court costs because the churches “right” to free speech has been “violated”. Or was it?

    Carry it out to the logical conclusion. God refused to protect this soldier because of the gays. That means the death of the soldier is the responsibility and “fault” of the gays. If they weren’t “gay”, then no soldiers would have died. Since the gays, by their actions, “caused” the death of this man, it is “they” who should be “punished” for wrong doing. Carry that out even farther and it must mean that because of the gays, 9/11 happened and Katrina happened. That means that thousands of Americans died and it’s the fault of the gays.

    Of course, any sane and reasonable person knows this to be ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact, it’s not even considered “hate speech”. But isn’t it?

    If someone is accused of a crime, and found guilty for that crime, shouldn’t they be “held accountable”? That is exactly what is going on here. This Christian church is accusing gays of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. The logical conclusion is they are advocating “punishment”. If that punishment is undeserved, then this isn’t “free” speech, it’s “hate” speech preaching unwarranted violence against an innocent and identifiable group of patriotic Americans who have committed no crime, hence, “fire in a crowded theater”. Besides, if we shouldn't "tolerate" the gays, what should we do to them?
     
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  2. California Girl
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    The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
     
  3. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    That's why this is a dilemma for me. On one hand, I respect the right to privacy; on the other hand, I respect "free speech". Banning a protest for merely "grief" could set a terrible precedent towards a "slippery slope" away from constitutional rights.

    However, the people truly maligned are the gays. What did they do? And if Phelps is correct, what should their punishment be? If they are not guilty of anything, then this isn't "free" speech, but "hate" speech. That is against the law.
     
  4. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    Westboro is a bunch of liberal loons out there to embarrass the right and be jerkasses to soldiers at one and the same time.

    It is just one family who were notorious for being ACLU goons before they decided to pull this stunt. They have no more knowledge of Christianity than a mollusk. They are the evil side of the great spaghetti monster. They deserve no respect as a religion. They are merely lefty goons enjoying thuggery for its own sake.

    Anyone has an absolute right to free speech, but these guys aren't into free speech. they are just into deliberate pain and humiliation. They don't care about the war, they don't care about Leviticus. They care about emotional pain. They are sadists. They should pay the damages.
     
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  5. California Girl
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    I'm not a supporter of 'hate speech' legislation. I am a supporter of free speech, BUT.... with 'rights' come 'responsibilities'. That's the 'fire in a crowded theater' scenario. The family of the dead have the right to bury their loved ones in peace. We, as a country, owe them that. Those families have the right to privacy, and to live their lives (including burying their dead) without having to tolerate those scumbag protestors.

    While I support the right of the Westboro cult to protest, we have to balance their rights with the rights of other people. The right to free speech doesn't outweigh the right of other people. We often forget that in the 'free speech' debate. It's not the only right - it is just one.
     
  6. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    I don't know that there is an easy way to protest - a way to do it that won't offend someone. If there is, however, I have to say that us guys on the left never seem to be able to find it. We seem to have a real talent for looking bad while we are protesting. Never mind that the cause is just - we always seem to find a way to make ourselves the center of the problem, rather than the problem we are trying to protest.
     
  7. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Churches have a big influence in the courts.

    Witnesses do not swear to tell the truth on a phone book do they?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  8. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Excuse me? Is this really you, CG? Or has a civil person taken over your computer by force? ;)
     
  9. California Girl
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    Fuck off. You know jack shit about me. rdean posted a perfectly reasonable question. While rdean and I may disagree passionately about many things, I treat threads with the respect they deserve. Pity I can't say the same about you, assclown.
     
  10. lawbuff
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    lawbuff Member

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    There are currently 2 cases (consolidated) before the US Supreme Court on this very issue.

    A ruling will probably be handed down in June?
     

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